Third successive start in Challenge Cup gives more game time to promising back
Centre Tom Penny is looking forward to this weekend’s European Rugby Challenge Cup tie against Connacht on Friday, as he makes his seventh appearance of the season and his third straight start in Europe.
The matches against Brive and Enisei have been games in which the 21 year old has shone, combining well with his team mates and setting up three of his side’s nine tries in the tournament to date.
It is another step on a journey Penny has been making with the club since the age of 12, with the centre growing in confidence.
“It’s been pretty good so far with the appearances, it’s good to get that sort of exposure and first team game team at the start of the season and build on last year where I had a couple of outings.”
“I’m feeling a bit more comfortable when I’m needed, that experience helps with decision making and I feel like I’m in a pretty good place at the moment to take any opportunities when they come.”
While the glory of scoring flowing back moves has been claimed by Marcus Watson and Zach Kibirige, the cutting edge provided by Penny and his centre partner Chris Harris has been a pleasure to watch, with Penny more than happy contributing to overall team glory, rather than seeking out individual plaudits.
“We put in a couple of good performances in Europe, against Brive we were unlucky not get the result and then the team went hard against Enisei. It was good to get the assists; I’m not all about the glory so it’s good to set them up!”
“I really enjoy playing with Chris, we work well together, there is still things we need to learn in terms of attack and defence and combining, but we get on pretty well, we’re housemates as well and its good to be in the centre’s with him.”
Facing a Connacht side that, until last week had been unbeaten in season 2015/16, Penny acknowledges the size of the task he and his fellow Falcons face, while insisting they are ready to meet the challenge from Pat Lam’s side.
“They have had a really good start to the season, including beating Munster for the first time in nearly 30 years, so its going to be a big task to go over there on their home turf, but I think we are in a good place after a good weeks training and the boys are buzzing for it. It will be good to get out there and give it a go.”